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What Syria Stands To Lose


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The regime faces a chorus of global reproach, with envoys from many countries pressing for an end to the violent crackdown.

The United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Syria in response to its increasing brutality against its own people.

Nearly five months ago, the people of Syria rose up to demand a representative, democratically elected government that will put an end to the corruption, injustice and poverty endemic under the Assad regime. But instead of heeding the call of its citizens, the Syrian government sent its security and military forces to attack unarmed civilians. So far, over 2,000 Syrian people have lost their lives.

When the blood began to flow and it became clear that the Syrian government intended to suppress dissent by brute force, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and individual nations began to first protest and then condemn the government's brutality. The international condemnation is now joined by Syria's neighbors. The United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Syria specifically targeting those in the regime responsible for the atrocities, and tightened old ones to cut off funds to finance its campaign of abuses. While these sanctions are carefully targeted against those responsible for the brutality against their own people, the sanctions could cost Syria billions of dollars.

Just as costly is Syria's growing isolation as even its staunchest allies are denouncing the bloodshed and calling for it to end. Russia, a long-time ally and supporter, urged Syria to immediately stop the use of force and repression, and the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council called for an immediate stop to the violence.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah demanded an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Then Saudi Arabia recalled its Ambassador from Damascus. Following King Abdullah's action, Kuwait and Bahrain also recalled their ambassadors. Moreover Turkey, which has sought to reach out to Syrians, toughened its message.

As State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said, the strong statements by the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council are "further signs that the international community is repulsed by the brutal actions of the Syrian Government and is standing with the Syrian people. . . . President Assad and his government are further isolating themselves from the international community through their actions."

The pressure on Syria will increase until the Syrian government stops killing its own people.


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